It’s that time of year again; time for Puss to go to the vet for their yearly check-up and vaccinations but…. Puss is nowhere to be found! 🤯
Most of us with cats have experienced this disappearing act as soon as the cat carrier gets pulled out. On top of this it can be a struggle to get our feline companions into the carrier without getting scratched not to mention the fuss they put up once in the car. 🐱🚗 All of this can make going to the vet quite stressful. Fortunately, there are some strategies we can use to help make the trip more pleasant and stress free for everyone involved.✔️
Cat Carrier Love
Recent research has found that training our cats to use our cat carriers can help reduce their stress. Using a similar premise to crate training in dogs it aims to create positive associations with being inside the cat carrier. 😺
Sometimes it is best to start with a new carrier if your cat already has a negative reaction to the one you are using. A sturdy plastic carrier with a front and roof entry is best as well as one that can have the top removed in case your cat is more comfortable being examined inside the carrier while at the vet. Ample familiar bedding 🛏️ can help them feel more secure and an absorbent liner (puppy training pads) can help in case of an accident. It is also best if each of your cats have a separate carrier to give them ample room to move.
Training your cat to love their cat carrier takes time, patience and persistence. Leaving your cat carrier out, open with the door off and in an accessible comfortable area in the house 🏡 is always a good start. This allows your cat to explore the carrier at their own leisure in a non-threatening environment. You can also reinforce any interest in the carrier with treats 🥫, their favourite toys 🧸 or gentle stroking. Don’t force your cat inside, slow and steady wins the race!
Progressively, the more positive experiences your cat has associated with their carrier the less stressed they will be when they are in it for their vet visit or trip to the cattery. 🤗
Despite our best efforts, once at the vet clinic the waiting room can present another stressful environment for your cat. Some cats will respond better with a towel or small blanket covering their carrier to give them more privacy. If space allows, avoid sitting too close to any dogs 🐕 in the waiting room. Your cat may have a canine pal at home and get along quite well with them, but the situation can be different in a strange environment with dogs they have never met. It can also be quite threatening for a cat if a dog comes up to sniff them as they are unable to escape in their carrier so keeping them off the ground or asking the reception to keep them behind the counter can make them feel safer.
Coming to the vet need not be a stressful experience for our cats and ourselves. It does take some time and persistence, but progressive incremental changes can build to big differences. If you have any further questions on feline behaviour don’t hesitate to call to talk with us on 07 3288 1822. 😸
You can find further information at: https://www.companionanimalpsychology.com/2019/02/cats-trained-to-use-their-carriers-find.html#.XJ17o71lmuI.mailto